The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves as well. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen accidents, meetings and material assistance that no one could have dreamed would come their way. Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now. – Goethe, found in A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire
The Clarion West class of 2012 has just been given the go ahead to break the cone of silence and tell the whole world that they have been accepted to the workshop. This is great, because not only will the students get to share their good news with everyone, but they can also begin to publicly raise money for attending the workshop.
When I got the call last year telling me I’d been accepted to the workshop, I told Neile “Yes! I will definitely be there!” The only problem was, I had no idea how I was going to pay for the workshop. I began by writing a blog post, detailing my ideas for raising money.
My Plan to Raise Money and Why It Failed
Here was my original plan of action:
- Start a kickstarter project
- Seek donations from the science fiction community
- Hold a bake sale
- Set the goal much, much lower (like at $100). If you don’t make your goal, then you receive ZERO amount of the funds you’ve raised. All of the money is refunded to the donors.
- Offered a story as part of the rewards (I offered a non-fiction zine)
- Not done kickstarter at all, but rather used Chip-in or another system that would allow me to keep any money pledged, whether or not I met my goal.
Here’s the thing about trying to raise funds from other science fiction and fantasy writers: they’ve probably already donated to the Clarion West scholarship funds. And if you’ve applied for a scholarship, then you might receive some of that fundraising money to help with your workshop costs. (Eternal thanks to Les and Neile and all of the Clarion West donors!) You might still connect with some SF readers and writers, but it might be useful to consider those donors off of the table.
I received some wonderful pledges from writing friends, but in the end I wasn’t able to use them because I did not meet my fundraising goal. This is a huge downside to kickstarter – you have to meet your fundraising goal in order to receive any money (and then that money will have fees from PayPal and Kickstarter deducted from that amount).
The bake sale failed for a very simple reason. I don’t know how to bake, and pre-Clarion West turned out to be too stressful a time to learn.
Unexpected Successes in Raising Funds
- Cash Donations from Family
- Item Donations from Family & Sales on Craigslist
- Clarion West Scholarship
|Thank you to everyone who helped me attend Clarion West in 2011!|